Built in 2015 and dressed with a new paintjob by Performance Boat Center and a new interior from Waves and Wheels—both located in the Lake of the Ozarks area in Central Missouri—a Skater Powerboats 426 catamaran has found a home with first-time catamaran owners Don Doty and Carolann Kent of Howell, Mich. Doty, a longtime V-bottom owner, and Kent headed to the 2016 Miami International Boat with the goal of buying a V-bottom, but thanks to Brett Manire and the team at Performance Boat Center ended up with the unique 42-foot cat powered by a pair of Mercury Racing 1350 engines.
“I’d say 50 percent of our decision was the boat, and 50 percent was the people at Performance Boat Center,” said Kent “Brett and his people made us feel super comfortable when we asked them questions.”
Doty agreed. “They treated us like family,” he said. “I have done a lot of deals in my life through my business. The ‘bark’ is always there when you’re making the deal, but the ‘bite’ is almost never there when it’s time to deliver. They went beyond the call.”
Last weekend, Manire, Myrick Coil and other members of the Performance Boat Center team began teaching Doty and Kent how to drive their new boat. (The couple also plans to take the Tres Martin Performance Boat School course.) Neither had ever piloted a catamaran, so Manire and company proceeded methodically with the couple during their first two days. On the third day, they ran the boat—albeit cautiously and conservatively—on their own. But they’re far from done with their training.
“We are going to spend two more weekends with those guys, and when they deliver the boat to Michigan someone from Performance Boat Center is going to come up and make sure we’re comfortable,” said Doty. “They want to make sure we stay safe.
“It was amazing—totally different from driving a V-hull,” he continued. “We were only in one kind of water (condition) at the lake, but it handled better and rode better than any V-bottom I’ve owned. It was a day-and-night difference. Everybody told me it would be. I’m not looking back, that’s for sure.”
Prior to last weekend, Kent had no powerboat-driving experience. So she was anxious before she got into the boat.
“There definitely was a fear factor for me,” she said. “The way we started on Friday, they had Don driving and me throttling. Then we switched places. On Saturday, we ran the boat ourselves. It’s amazing how easy it was to maneuver over the water.”
Doty and Kent have decided to call their new catamaran, which they plan to run in the Boyne Thunder Poker Run in July and the Florida Powerboat Club’s Key West Poker Run in November, “One Year Skater.” It’s a play on words, as they first saw the 42-footer in its original gray/silver color scheme one year ago during a motorcycle rally that stopped at the Post Card Inn Tiki Bar in Islamorada, Fla.
“Don and his friend, Tony, we’re salivating over it,” said Kent. “Don said, ‘We’re going to own that boat someday.’”
Now, they do.
“I went to the Miami Boat Show to buy a V-hull,” said Doty. “I’ve had V-hulls all my life. I had my heart set on buying one. But now that I’ve run it, I’m so glad I bought the Skater.”